Tag Archives: juvenile fiction

Children’s Corner: Imagine . . . The Great Flood

7 Aug

IMAGINE…
The ocean swirled around the boy and pulled him down with unrelenting power. Heavy water churned and tugged at his flailing body like unseen hands yanking him into the watery depths. The fight was finally over. Even though he’d tried to stand up to the enemy, the waves were about to swallow him whole.

The last thing ten-year-old Corey remembers (before the world as he knew it disappeared) was the searing pain in his head after falling while chasing his dog Molly into the woods. What happens next can’t be explained as Corey wakes up and finds himself face-to-face with not one but two lions! 
 
Join Corey and experience the excitement . . . the wound . . . the adventure . . . as the epic story of Noah’s ark comes to life.
 
Imagine. . .The Great Flood is the first release in an exciting, brand-new epic adventure series for kids ages 8 to 12 written by schoolteacher and missionary, Matt Koceich. The Imagine series brings the Bible to life for today’s kids as they ponder what it would be like to live through a monumental biblical event.

Matt Koceich (born August 20, 1968) is the author of The Sending and a public school teacher. He is currently working on The Breaking, Book 2 in the Soul Kingdom trilogy.

Matt lives in Mansfield, TX with his wife and their four children.

My Impressions:

Fast-paced action and adventure is what you get with Matt Koceich’s book for kids, Imagine . . . The Great Flood. The first book in the Imagine series, this novel takes main character Corey from his suburban neighborhood to the site of Noah’s Ark and the ensuing flood. This imaginative book gets your child thinking about the familiar Bible story by putting them right in the middle of the action.

Ten year-old Corey is disappointed that his family will soon be moving from Texas to Florida. Faced with leaving all he finds familiar, he is feeling a bit sorry for himself. Then an accident plunges him into another world. Waking up in the time of Noah, Corey sees for himself the events leading up to the flood.

I found Imagine . . . The Great Flood an interesting read for kids. Koceich takes the basic facts of the Flood account and adds his own twist. Corey not only interacts with Noah and his sons, but some of the lesser known people alive at this time — the Nephilim. His fictional account of the well-known Bible story made me go back to the Bible to check out what God’s word had to say about it all. That’s a good thing. It gets the reader to investigate on their own. This book isn’t really time travel, but more of a dream. But in it, Corey discovers truths about God — the fact that He never changes, is in complete control, and has a plan and a purpose for our lives. The end of the book finds Corey and his family settled into their new home and community. The things he learned in his dream are reinforced in his new life.

I think 8-12 year-old readers, especially boys, will like this chapter book. It is a great step towards getting them to think about God and dig deeper into His word.

Recommended.

Audience: children ages 8-12.

To purchase, click HERE.

(Thanks to Barbour for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

 

 

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Book Review: Caleb’s Awesome Adventure

28 Jul

61v86raRK-L._SX351_BO1,204,203,200_Caleb can’t wait to spend a few days with his sister Zali at his great grandparents farm. There’s always plenty to explore and so much fun to be had. What will he get up to with his cherished Pa? Caleb’s Awesome Adventure takes you on a journey to the wonders of farm life which children who live in towns and cities may never experience. This book will resonate with a generation that sees family values and togetherness as an essential ingredient in the nurturing of young children. Caleb through this childhood adventure learns to appreciate his own needs as well as family values.

 

 

1618478_10203107033295178_971712447_nBonnie Mae is the pen name of Debbie Telfer, an author from Queensland, Australia. Caleb’s Awesome Adventure is her debut juvenile novel. In her own words: I have never looked at myself as anything really other than a Mum, a wife and a business partner with my husband. After losing a little grandaughter at birth 4 years ago, I went on a life changing journey where God met me and relieved me of the pain in my heart that I was carrying. I learnt to see through that pain and draw close to him and to pour out my heart to him. In doing so I was able to find another person that had been hidden. The new me has done things that I never dreamt of and doesn’t go and hide from a challenge. The challenge thrown at me was “Could I write a children’s book teaching them what I had learnt”. I laughed at that person. As I sat down one day at my computer, words formed in my head, so I typed them. They kept coming, and Caleb’s Awesome Adventure was born. Had you told me 4 years ago I would write a book I would not have believed you.

My Impressions:

Caleb’s Awesome Adventure follows Caleb and his sister Zali on a trip to their great-grandparents’ farm in Australia. Suitable for children ages 8-12, this debut novel by Bonnie Mae reinforces the importance of family, especially multi-generational relationships. Simple illustrations reinforce the narrative as Caleb and Zali learn about life in the country.

There is much to like about Caleb’s Awesome Adventure — interesting characters, a look at life in the country as well as a look back into the history of Caleb’s family and Australia. The two children learn about farming, preserving, homemaking and chores as they develop strong relationships with their great-grandparents and grandfather. The adults in the book are careful to teach the children about values, choices, and consequences. Because of the emphasis on parenting, this book would be good for family story times.

I have one caveat to share about Caleb’s Awesome Adventure. At the end of the book Caleb’s grandfather talks with him about Caleb’s gift of visions. While this is biblical, I think parents should be aware of its inclusion and be ready for questions from their kids.

All in all Caleb’s Awesome Adventure is an interesting look at life in another country as well as a portrayal of positive family life.

Recommended.

Audience: children ages 8-12.

To purchase this book, click HERE

(Thanks to the author for a review copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

 

Book Review: Patriots, Redcoats And Spies

3 Apr

748410When Revolutionary War Patriot Lamberton Clark is shot by British soldiers while on a mission for the Continental Army, he has only two hopes of getting the secret message he’s carrying to General George Washington: his 14-year-old twin boys John and Ambrose. Upon discovering that their father is a spy in the Culper Spy Ring, the boys accept their mission without a clue about what they may be up against. They set off from Connecticut to New Jersey to find General Washington, but the road to the commander-in-chief of the Continental Army is full of obstacles; including the man who shot their father who is hot on their trail.

 

 

robfullphotoAbout Author Robert J. Skead (from his website):

Fascinated by the creative process and all things inspirational, I love to craft stories and help others achieve their dreams. Nothing great happens alone—it takes a team and lots of encouragement (and hard work) for awesome things to happen.

In addition to writing, I run a basketball league for 320 kids in my area, coach my kids’ sports teams, and enjoy learning new things. In fact, each book I’ve written is the result of something in life that captured my attention and I decided to learn more about it or that I knew about—like Christmas elves and football-playing turkeys.

 

My Impressions:

If you are looking to encourage boys ages 10-14 to read, then you need to check out Patriots, Redcoats and Spies by Robert J. Skead. Filled with adventure, suspense and historical detail, this book follows twin brothers, Ambrose and John, on a mission critical to the success of the American patriots during the Revolutionary War. I think this book would be especially helpful to homeschool families.

Ambrose and John Clark are identical in looks, but nothing alike in temperament. John is quiet and cautious and Ambrose is boisterous and impetuous. But both boys want to help their father get a secret letter to General Washington. As they dodge Redcoats and borrow horses to achieve their goal, they draw closer and mature.

Skead uses information about the real Culper spy ring to create a story sure to appeal to boys (and girls for that matter). He also includes information on the history behind the novel, as well as historical figures and a glossary of sites and terms introduced in the book. Discussion questions also allow your child to go a little deeper in their own thoughts on being a patriot. When they finish the book, they will certainly want more, and they are in luck! There is a second book featuring the Clark twins — Submarines, Secrets And A Daring Rescue. So check this one out!

Recommended.

Audience: children ages 10-14.

(Thanks to Zonderkidz for a review copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

To purchase this book, click HERE.

Book Review: Andi Under Pressure

30 Dec

737025Twelve-year-old Andora ‘Andi’ Boggs and her new best friend Colin Carter couldn’t be more excited to attend the prestigious science camp at the local university in Killdeer, Ohio. Unfortunately, Discovery Camp’s curriculum appears to include much more than just chemistry and biology. From day one, the university is plagued by a series of pranks—missing markers, loose crickets, and stolen scales. Campus security blames the mysterious janitor Polk, but even though Andi agrees he’s acting suspicious, she can’t believe the gentle old man would do anything illegal. Then one prank goes too far and their chemistry professor is injured by an explosion in the lab, upping the stakes of the investigation. Andi and Colin must unravel the secrets behind the chemistry department and Polk’s dark past before danger closes the camp for good.

Amanda Flower, an Agatha-nominated mystery author, started her writing career in elementary school when she read a story she wrote to her sixth grade class and had the class in stitches with her description of being stuck on the top of a Ferris wheel. She knew at that moment she’d found her calling of making people laugh with her words. Her debut mystery, Maid of Murder, was an Agatha Award Nominee for Best First Novel. Amanda is an academic librarian for a small college near Cleveland. She also writes mysteries as Isabella Alan.

My Impressions:

I love a mystery. My first experience with mystery novels was, of course, Nancy Drew. I loved becoming part of a team uncovering clues to solve a case. For a new generation, Amanda Flower has created Andi Boggs and her case-solving adventures. In book 2 in the series, Andi Under Pressure, the young sleuth and her partner, Colin Carter, look into the mishaps at a summer science camp. The slightly nerdy duo are tenacious in their quest for answers.

Andi Under Pressure is perfect for girls. The heroine is a math and science whiz finding her way in a new town and family. Andi’s parents were killed in a plane crash, and she and her sister must now make a home with her aunt. Readers will have a lot to think about besides the mystery — what makes a family and what is important in our closest relationships. The pitfalls of being the new kid are explored as well.

So if you are looking for a book to please the mystery-loving child in your life, be sure to check out Andi Under Pressure.

Recommended.

Audience: kids ages 8-12.

(Thanks to Zonderkidz for my review copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

To purchase this book, click on the image below.

Book Review: Escape through The Wilderness

29 Oct

9781632682017medSixteen-year-old Savannah Evans walks with a slight limp thanks to a gymnastics’ accident that dashed her Olympic dreams, but didn’t stop her from attending an adventure camp in Idaho. At Camp Arrowhead, she quickly befriends Jade Chang and Rico Cruz, but Conner Swift taunts Savi because of her injury.

When the four are teamed together for an overnight white-water river rafting adventure, Savi refuses to get in the same raft with Conner. Unfortunately, the director will not reassign her.

A fun expedition down the river turns into a nightmare when their raft slams into a huge rock and their adult guide disappears down the river.

Without their guide and desperately trying to steer an out-of-control raft, they pass the “Last Chance” marker and enter the larger rapids. With Jade pinned between the raft and a rock, and Rico clinging to a lifeline, Savi must cut the raft free.

When the four drag themselves out of the river, they’re bruised, beaten, lost, and twenty-five miles from camp. Because of late-night campfire tales of Vexel, a vicious animal that roams the nearby woods, Savi and the others are terrified.

Savi becomes the unlikely leader who tries to guide the group back to Camp Arrowhead. Limited supplies, injuries, and the constant threat of Vexel—who Savi fears is stalking them, complicate the harrowing return trip.

 

Gary RodriguezGary Rodriguez is president of LeaderMetrix Inc., a consulting company that specializes in senior-level executive coaching, organizational development and conflict resolution. He is the author of the new adventure novel Escape through the Wilderness scheduled for release in June 2014.

His first book Purpose-Centered Public Speaking was an instant hit and recently republished by Tate Publishing.

His extensive resume includes eighteen years as an executive in the radio business where he spent several years as one of the original managers of Infinity Broadcasting. He was twice nominated as medium market manager of the year by the Bobby Poe report, a national media publication.

For over thirty-five years, Gary has spoken in public both nationally and internationally. Gary’s resume includes a season in the U.S. Army where he was highly decorated as the youngest Drill Instructor in the Army’s history at age 18 years. He was also awarded the Silver Star (the nation’s third highest award for valor) while serving in Viet Nam.

 

My Impressions:

Escape through The Wilderness is an adventure novel suitable for middle school readers. Its main characters, 4 teenagers at an Adventure camp, are challenged by extreme conditions, injuries and dangerous situations. Survival is the main goal, but the teens learn teamwork along the way. There is also a character that lives her faith and makes a big impression on the other three.

I found the book a bit slow at first as the author attempted to establish the characters’ personalities and motivations. The legend of the monster Vexel is introduced during a night time camp fire — a foreshadowing of what is to come. But as soon as the 4 teens are thrown into peril, the action ramps up. Their encounters with wild animals and a lone hunter seem a bit hard to believe, but I think kids ages 12-14, will enjoy the survival skills employed by the characters, their independent actions and their determination to survive. There is also a lot to think about in the way the characters grow emotionally.

Audience: kids 12-14.

(Thanks to Pump Up Your Book for a review copy of this book. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

To purchase this book, click on the image below.

 

 

Book Spotlight: How to Survive Middle School And Monster Bots

14 Oct

68430ebSometimes, being smart just isn’t enough.

It’s been a rough semester for Howard Boward, science genius. Not only is he having to dodge winter’s most feared weapon (snowballs), his close friend, Winnie McKinney, is barely speaking to him. If that weren’t enough, he’s the favorite target of some bullies who seem determined to make life at Dolley Madison Middle School as miserable as possible. But then Howard learns about an upcoming robot-building contest—finally a chance to show off his science skills and beat archrival Gerald “G-Force” Forster! Unfortunately, the only way to win is by using his secret “monster goo,” a formula that has terrifying side effects. Can Howard resist the temptation? Or will he unleash a robot rampage that could destroy the town—and ruin the school dance?

 

ronbates1Ron Bates began his career as a newspaper reporter in Texas, and later became an editor and columnist. His humorous features led him to a job as the resident humor columnist for three of Legacy Publishing’s regional magazines. As a freelance writer, Bates’ works include the children’s story, “Arnold Bought a Bug,” and “St. Mary’s and the Art of War,” the true story of how Italian POWs transformed a tiny Texas church. Bates also wrote the Cranium Comics series “Brawn,” the inspirational play, “Flight 1615,” and “Underground Ink,” a collection of funny poems. An award-winning copywriter, Bates lives in Frisco, Texas.

 

I have not read How to Survive Middle School And Monster Bots, but thought this looked like a good book to share with you. I am giving this book to a young friend, so I will give you the scoop on it when he is done.

Audience: Ages 8-12.

(Thanks to Zonderkidz for a free copy of this book.)

To purchase this book, click on the image below.

Book Review: A Sandy Grave

18 Apr

A Sandy Grave coverThe anticipation of summer vacation can put anyone in a great mood with the excitement of adventures to be had–especially at the beach. But what is a group of friends to do when they discover mysterious men poaching whale teeth at the beach?

 

EXCERPT:

The lifeguards had their arms extended and attempted to move the crowd back. The tallest lifeguard said, “People, please stay back. The authorities will arrive to examine the whale to determine the cause of death within the hour. The whale must have died at sea and washed ashore.”

 

 

Giveaway

 

Donna McDine HeadshotDonna McDine is an award-winning children’s author, Honorable Mention in the 77th and two Honorable Mentions in the 78th Annual Writer’s Digest Writing Competitions, Literary Classics Silver Award & Seal of Approval Recipient Picture Book Early Reader, Readers Favorite 2012 International Book Awards Honorable Mention, Global eBook Awards Finalist Children’s Picture Book Fiction, and Preditors & Editors Readers Poll 2010 Top Ten Children’s Books ~ The Golden Pathway. Her stories, articles, and book reviews have been published in over 100 print and online publications. Her interest in American History resulted in writing and publishing The Golden Pathway. Donna’s 2013 releases of Powder Monkey and Hockey Agony and the 2014 release of A Sandy Grave will be joined by an additional book to be published by Guardian Angel Publishing, Dee and Deb, Off They Go. She writes, moms and is a personal assistant from her home in the historical hamlet Tappan, NY. McDine is a member of the SCBWI, Children’s Literature Network, and Family Reading Partnership.  Visit Donna online at http://www.donnamcdine.com or her blog at http://www.donna-mcdine.blogspot.com.

 

My Impressions:

Looking for a way to keep your tweenager (ages 8 – 12) reading this summer? Then try A Sandy Grave by author Donna McDine and illustrated by Julie Hammond. Filled with interesting facts and a little bit of a mystery, this book has a beach setting that is perfect for vacation reading.

Leah is on vacation with her family at the beach. She and her friends are eager to enjoy the sun and sand, but are surprised to find a crowd surrounding a large whale that has been beached. The attentive Leah also notices suspicious goings-on and follows her grandmother’s advice to trust her instincts. A mystery is solved and Leah and her friends are heroes.

I can easily see this book leading to further reading and discussion, with the new words and concepts presented — a plus while trying to keep readers engaged over the summer months. Kids interested in wildlife or the ocean will enjoy the setting and the facts surrounding whales and the threat of poachers. And while Leah takes things into her own hands to solve the mystery, the book can foster a discussion of the best time to talk to parents and authorities to avoid dangerous situations.

All in all, a quick read that is well-researched and written for middle readers.

Recommended.

(Thanks to the author and Pump Up Your Book for a review copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

To purchase this book, click on the image below.